So will there be two pork barrels for politicians?
We read with keen interest the article “P-Noy shifts P20B to war on poverty” (Inquirer, 3/25/13).
Comparing the new antipoverty funding program named as “Bottoms-Up-Budget” or BUB with the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF (which is actually pork barrel funds for projects identified by House representatives and senators), Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was quoted as saying that the big difference between PDAF and BUB is “that instead of the projects dictated from the top, this time they will be decided from the ground, by local government units working closely with their communities.”
If true, then we welcome the BUB as it will follow the process prescribed by the Local Government Code of 1991, which empowers the local development councils to identify the local projects their communities need. But before we start rejoicing, we would like to respectfully ask Secretary Abad to clarify the following:
1. Will the projects to be funded by the BUB be identified by the local development councils of the local government units, with the identification process starting with the barangays? Or will the projects be unilaterally decided by the mayors?
Note that if BUB-funded local projects will be identified only by the mayors and not by the local development councils, then it will contradict the program’s very name, which is “Bottoms-Up Budget,” and it will be nothing more than another pork barrel.
2. Will the BUB replace the PDAF or will the PDAF stay as is, hand-in-hand with the BUB? God forbid! Otherwise, there will be two pork barrels that politicians can dip into with their very own hands!
Thus, we would like to ask Secretary Abad to answer the above questions so the public will know whether to welcome the BUB or include it in the people’s fight against corruption and plunder.
chair, Coalition of Anti-Pork Advocates,
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